High heat means a hot car for children, pets

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summer is approaching so parents and pet owners should be mindful of leaving children and pets inside of a locked vehicle.

Monday it was reported that a South Carolina father now faces a charge of unlawful neglect of a child after he left his 13-month-old daughter in a vehicle for several hours.

The outcome was tragic, especially since reports state the man was a good father who forgot his daughter was in the back seat when he arrived at work that morning.

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Typically when people read these stories they think to themselves, “I would never do such a thing to my child,” and while they mean every word of it, the fact is, humans are forgetful.

Similar situations have occurred in Picayune. One was reported several years ago when a woman stopped at a local store and left her pets inside the locked vehicle. Bystanders noticed the dogs and called for help.

Officers arrived a short time later, but the dogs had already succumbed to the heat that quickly builds in a vehicle.

There was a report of a parent leaving their child in a car to run into a Picayune retailer, thinking their trip will be quick. Fortunately, community members noticed the child locked in the car and called police who were able to retrieve the child before any harm was done. The parent came out of the store to face child neglect charges, but at least the child survived.

Nationwide, there were 14 heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles reported last year. This year there have already been three, and summer isn’t even here yet.

Within 40 minutes the internal temperature of a vehicle can increase by as much as 38 degrees, even if the outside temperature is only 72 degrees. So check those back seats and never leave children or pets in a car.